Change policy, change the world?
Article 208 of the Treaty of Lisbon holds one very important, but too often overlooked sentence.
‘The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.’
Try to imagine for a moment what the impact for poverty eradication would be if that article would be completely executed. If all EU policies, whether they are about international trade, or (illicit) financial flows, or agriculture, or climate change, would fully take into account the impact for developing countries. If that would be the case, support for developing countries would go way beyond the ‘ traditional’ development cooperation and the potential positive effects for developing countries would be inconceivable.
Unfortunately, that is not yet the case. There is growing awareness of Policy Coherence for Development (which is the official term) visible in the EU, but this is not enough. Out of the 177 impact assessments of proposed EU-policies between 2007 and 2013 only 33 of those assessments considered the impact on developing countries. This is for a large party due to the fact that policy coherence is no legal requirement for the EU.
Woord en Daad started asking attention for this matter early 2014, both on a national level in the Netherlands as well on a European level in Brussels. Since one cannot take the whole weight of the world on one’s shoulders Woord en Daad decided to focus mainly on policy coherence on the field of trade agreements between the EU and developing countries. Woord en Daad represents EU-Cord in the PCD Working Group of CONCORD (the European NGO confederation for relief and development), and keeps in touch with MEPs and other policy makers on this issue. The new European Commission and Parliament seem to be motivated to take PCD to the next level which gives hope for the future. Nevertheless, Woord en Daad and EU-Cord will keep an eye on this important issue and will advocate for more coherent EU policies and a legal embedding of PCD.
Picture: A Burkinabe man working on his field